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Coming off rebuttal, Bachmann all the rage

ST. PAUL -- No one can say that Michele Bachmann is shy.

The Minnesota Republican congresswoman often dives into controversy, but her State of the Union response drew the most attention yet.

In the first two days, nearly 200,000 people watched her speech on one of several YouTube videos about her. Others watched on cable television news channels.

While Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan delivered the official GOP rebuttal, a measured speech, Bachmann was more direct and blamed President Barack Obama for creating economic woes.

The next day, Bachmann lost a Minnesota congressional hot dish competition to two Democrats: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (for taconite tater tot hot dish) and Rep. Tim Walz (for chicken mushroom wild rice hot dish). But Bachmann took the loss well, and avoided using her busy schedule as an excuse.

"As a mother of five and a foster mom of 23 I have served a lot of hot dish over the years and variations of every flavor appear on dinner tables all over our state," Bachmann said. "I'm pleased the Minnesota delegation is coming together at the start of the 112th Congress to join in this friendly competition. Though we may not always agree on legislation, we can all agree we represent the greatest state, with the greatest hot dishes, in the union."

Bachmann is not talking about a presidential race, although her staff made it clear she is thinking about it. She made a recent visit to her home state of Iowa, where the first presidential caucuses will be held in a year, with 50 to 60 journalists watching her every move.

The congresswoman began her biggest week yet in front of Minnesota media when she and state legislators complained about Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton's decision to join a federal health-care program. That was the day before the State of the Union address.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.